Does excessive memory load attenuate activation in the prefrontal cortex? Load-dependent processing in single and dual tasks: functional magnetic resonance imaging study

Jäggi, Susanne; Seewer, Ria; Nirkko, Arto Christian; Eckstein, Doris; Schroth, Gerhard; Groner, Rudolf; Gutbrod, Klemens (2003). Does excessive memory load attenuate activation in the prefrontal cortex? Load-dependent processing in single and dual tasks: functional magnetic resonance imaging study. NeuroImage, 19(2 Pt 1), pp. 210-225. Elsevier 10.1016/S1053-8119(03)00098-3

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Functional magnetic resonance imaging was used to investigate the relationship between cortical activation and memory load in dual tasks. An n-back task at four levels of difficulty was used with auditory-verbal and visual-nonverbal material, performed separately as single tasks and simultaneously as dual tasks. With reference to single tasks, activation in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) commonly increases with incremental memory load, whereas for dual tasks it has been hypothesized previously that activity in the PFC decreases in the face of excessive processing demands, i.e., if the capacity of the working memory's central executive system is exceeded. However, our results show that during both single and dual tasks, prefrontal activation increases continuously as a function of memory load. An increase of prefrontal activation was observed in the dual tasks even though processing demands were excessive in the case of the most difficult condition, as indicated by behavioral accuracy measures. The hypothesis concerning the decrease in prefrontal activation could not be supported and was discussed in terms of motivation factors. Similar changes in load-dependent activation were observed in two other regions outside the PFC, namely in the precentral gyrus and the superior parietal lobule. The results suggest that excessive processing demands in dual tasks are not necessarily accompanied by a diminution in cortical activity.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Radiology, Neuroradiology and Nuclear Medicine (DRNN) > Institute of Diagnostic and Interventional Neuroradiology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Head Organs and Neurology (DKNS) > Clinic of Neurology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > BioMedical Research (DBMR) > DCR Unit Sahli Building > Forschungsgruppe Neurologie

UniBE Contributor:

Jäggi, Susanne; Nirkko, Arto Christian; Schroth, Gerhard; Groner, Rudolf and Gutbrod, Klemens

Subjects:

100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health

ISSN:

1053-8119

Publisher:

Elsevier

Language:

English

Submitter:

Stefanie Hetzenecker

Date Deposited:

11 Jul 2017 13:58

Last Modified:

11 Jul 2017 13:58

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/S1053-8119(03)00098-3

PubMed ID:

12814572

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/94735

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